Facts about Kids and Sports

Safe Kids USA wants you to know the following key facts about kids and sports:

• More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in sports each year in the U.S.
• Nearly three-quarters of U.S. households with school-age children have at least one child who plays organized sports.
• Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries.
• Approximately two-thirds of all sports-related injuries leading to emergency department visits are for children.
The rate and severity of sports-related injury increases with a child’s age.
• From 2001 through 2009, it is estimated that there were 1,770,000 emergency department visits, 6 percent
of these for traumatic brain injuries, among children ages 14 and under for injuries related to sports or
• Approximately one out of five traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities.
• More than 90 percent of sports-related concussions occur without the loss of consciousness.
• The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness.
• In 2009, more than 365,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in emergency departments for either football or basketball-related injuries.


Kids playing sports

Proven Interventions that Can Protect Your Child when Playing Sports:

• Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should be well versed in the proper use of equipment and should enforce rules on equipment use.
• Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of concussion, particularly in sports such as football, skiing and snowboarding.
• Children should have access to and consistently use the appropriate gear necessary for each respective sport.
• Among bicyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders, wrist guards can reduce wrist injuries by up to 87 percent, elbow pads can reduce elbow injuries by 82 percent and knee pads can reduce the number of knee injuries by 32 percent.
• Proper hydration and recognition of heat illness signs and symptoms (such as nausea, dizziness and elevated body temperature) can help reduce the risk of severe sports-related heat illness.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children take at least one day off from organized
physical activity each week and at least two to three months off from a particular sport per year to avoid over training or burnout.


Go to www.safekids.org for more information on keeping children safe while enjoying sports.


Sports Safety Guide for Parents

Most of us recognize the benefits of our children playing sports. It is a great way for children to build self esteem, develop social skills and be physically fit through regular exercise.  We also know that hand in hand with playing a sport comes the risk of a sports-related injury.

logo of Safe Kids USAAccording Safe Kids USA (www.safekids.org) each year more than 3.5 million children and adolescents playing sports sustain a sport-related injury that requires medical attention.

Safe Kids describes these athletic injuries  as ranging from something mild such as ankle sprains and muscle strains to  severe injuries such as concussions or heat illness.

Experts say that many sports-related injuries occurring in games and practices are likely preventable. So how can we keep our children safe while playing a sport?

Safe Kids USA advises us to learn what we need to know to keep our kids safe when playing sports by focusing on:

  • Pre-participation Physical Evaluations – Make sure your child gets an annual physical screening before playing sports
  • Concussion Prevention, Recognition and Response- Concussions are a brain injury. Know the signs of a concussion! Most concussions do not cause a loss of consciousness – check out Concussion Fact Sheet for Parents at www.safekids.org
  • Acute and Overuse Injury Prevention – learn what causes overuse and acute injuries and what can be done to prevent them
  • Heat Illness Prevention – Children often dehydrate before they show any symptoms of dehydration . Encourage your child to drink before, during and after playing sports.

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